Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Forensic Database Firearms and Toolmarks Table

Biology Biometrics Chemistry/Toxicology Environmental Fire & Explosives Firearms & Toolmarks Questioned Documents
Technology/Digital Evidence Trace Evidence Other

Firearms & Toolmarks







Evidence Type


AFTE Website Headstamps The Association of Firearm and Toolmark Examiners Professional organization of firearm/toolmark examiners. Public website with members-only section. Forums allow members to conduct bullet searches and ask other general questions to colleagues. Parts of the website are publicly accessible; there is also a members-only section. Website forums with discussion topics among professional firearm/toolmark examiners. There is also an image gallery containing headstamp photos with relevant information on bullet and manufacturer, organized by letter, number, symbol or picture on headstamp. There are 622 samples in the reference gallery. Access through the URL. Membership information is available online. Contributed by AFTE members. Digital records. Jay Stuart,
Albuquerque Police
5350 2nd St. NW
Albuquerque, NM 87107
webmaster [at] (webmaster[at]afte[dot]org)
CartWinPro Ammunition CartWin Pro (Germany, commercial) Databases of headstamp, caliber measurements, color code references, cartridge records, manufacturer info, and specimen photos of various bullets. Designed for use by police/forensic experts, military specialist, government facilities, firearms and ammunition experts, museums or other institutions. All information can be purchased as a stand-alone database. Information on the records in each of the databases:- Headstamp (~18,640 headstamps): origin, manufacturer, meaning of the individual codes, and a picture of the headstamp.- Manufacturer (~2,090 manufacturers): address, homepage, email, phone, information about the company, type of manufacturer, and a picture of the company's logo.- Caliber (~1,290 caliber / ~4,630 caliber synonyms): measurements of the cartridge by length and diameter, caliber synonyms, intention, and other information about its history, availability, and firearms used in the caliber.- Color Code (~2,360 color codes) information of the tip, mouth, base, and annulus colors, shapes and the meaning of them in conjunction with the caliber.- Collection (~4,460 cartridges): complete cartridges with headstamp, color codes, manufacturer, caliber information, additional cartridge information (weight, materials, color of compounds, etc.), and pictures of the headstamp, complete cartridge, packing, label, and other details.- There are also ~12,300 specimen photos.

The best way for US agencies to contact the CartWinPro team with sales and information questions is by email. The database and updates are provided to users on CD.

CartWinPro allows searches in any of its databases in order to identify the specimen. The databases are: Headstamp, Manufacturer, Caliber, Color Code, and Collection. All databases can be searched on every field and information displayed. The search fields can easily be combined by the user to his specific needs. Once a record is found, the user can quickly check and see if other records are related.

Samples and information are collected from a variety of sources, including:- Law enforcement laboratory and private collections- International firearms and ammunition shows- Directly from manufacturers- From the field (the POC is a competitive shooter at the international level)- Feedback from customers and law enforcement laboratories Digital records. Physical samples are either kept in the CartWinPro team's own collection or returned to the owner. Axel Manthei
CartWinPro -
The Ammunition
Albrecht - Nützel-
Weg 29
86916 Kaufering
Tel +49-(0)8191-66704
Fax +49-(0)8191-973326
info [at] (info[at]cartwinpro[dot]com)
General Rifling Chracteristics (GRC) Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) -- FBI Laboratory Database of firearms including class characteristics. GRC are the identified rifling pattern and the diameters of the individual lands and grooves. Using these parameters, firearm examiners can search through a database of known rifling data. The resulting search helps the investigator narrow down the search for the unknown firearm. The CD version is available to all law enforcement agencies, and is published and distributed bi-annually. The database contains over 15,000 firearms. The FBI can access the MS Access version via internal servers. The database is available to other LEAs via CD distribution. Samples are obtained through volunteer field contributions as well as active input by GRC manager. New specimens are verified before being entered into GRC. Digital records; physical samples stored at the FBI Lab. John Webb
Federal Bureau
of Investigations,
FBI Laboratory
john.webb [at] (john[dot]webb[at]ic[dot]fbi[dot]gov)
National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) & Integrated Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) NIBIN is the ATF program that administers automated ballistic imaging technology for NIBIN partners in the United States that have entered into a formal agreement with ATF to enter ballistic information into NIBIN. The program utilizes IBIS (a commercial ballistics imaging and identification system) as a platform. The topographical features of fired ammunition recovered from a crime scene or a crime gun test fire are assigned an algorithm. This is referred to as an acquisition. New acquisitions are compared against prior acquisitions stored on the server. NIBIN partners have completed more than two million acquisitions. Partners use IBIS to acquire digital images of markings on cartridge cases and bullets. Images are compared against earlier NIBIN entries (acquisitions) via electronic image comparison. If likely matches emerge, firearms examiners analyze original evidence piece to confirm the match. Law enforcement agencies seeking to join the NIBIN partnership with ATF must agree to submit fired ammunition, evidence from crime scenes, and test fires of crime guns. Acquisitions are made by NIBIN partners using IBIS, and are collected at a crime scene or crime gun test fire. Digital records; The ATF packages up physical samples are sends them back to the submitting agency once the acquisition is made. Tim Curtis
Bureau of Alcohol,
Tobacco, Firearms,
and Explosives (ATF)
Chief, Laboratory/
Operations/Acting Manager NIBIN
Timothy.Curtis [at] (Timothy[dot]Curtis[at]atf[dot]gov)
Reference Ammunition File (RAF) Ammunition Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) -- FBI Laboratory A searchable Microsoft Access database is used by employees to help determine what type of ammunition has been submitted in forensic casework. Actual samples of the ammunition are used to test fire submitted firearms. No cost to access. Other LEAs can access the information but the Firearms/Toolmarks Unit. The Reference Ammunition file contains over 16,000 ammunition samples. The collection is kept in two parts:1) For each designated sample with unique number, the FBI has one full sample and one disassembled sample.2) A collection with test ammunition for each sample with unique number is kept separately. There are two ways to access: 1) Phone or email with information (photos, headstamp, weight, and other characteristics). FBI Firearms/Toolmarks Unit will send back a list of possible matches. 2) Member of investigating agency brings in or ships items for traditional laboratory examination. Results are contained in written Report of Examination. Yearly purchases constrained by Firearms/Toolmarks Unit supply budget. Otherwise sporadic. Digital records; physical samples available for test fires by the FBI Lab. Doug Murphy
Federal Bureau
of Investigations,
FBI Laboratory

Top of Page

Created June 3, 2013, Updated January 9, 2017